What happens to junk left behind in foreclosed homes?

Here's a short news-piece on the stuff that's left behind by people when they lose their foreclosed homes, stuff that ends up in landfills because charity trucks can't get there fast enough to haul it away. It's an enormous amount of waste, but I understand the perspective of the foreclosed, who are moving to uncertain places and have to apply lifeboat rules to the stuff they take, since it's all a liability (space in a truck, space in a rented storage, space in a neighbor or family-member's home) until it lands somewhere permanent.

KCET: The Trashout Squad (via Dynamics of Cats)


  1. Not to make light of the suffering of people who are loosing their homes because they have lost their jobs, but not all of the people who are being foreclosed on are in dire financial straits. Due to continually falling house prices, more and more people are deciding to stop making mortgage payments because they are realizing that the house they bought may never be worth the price they paid for it. For them it makes financial sense to just walk away, even though they could make the payments. This is a serious problem and is, I think, the main reason that this economic crisis is not going to end anytime soon.

    1. Yep, those people who have to accept losing on a home investment must be fools, unwilling to take their losses, unlike the banks, who make the mortgagee actually pay for the insurance AGAINST them so the banks don’t have to take their own losses from amking bad mortgages.

      Capitalism is a wonderful thing… for those holding the capital.

    1. You have a good point stuckinkiel. Unfortunately what they don’t see is they could eventually leave the house to their children..their generation could make money on it. Also look at the Home Equity Loans they took out before foreclosure and don’t have to pay back when they foreclose. That’s rent and deposit for somewhere else. Plus most people buy new furniture when they buy a home and when in foreclosure they lose all their furniture because the Banks / Realtors aren’t held by law like landlords are to keep the furniture in storage for at least 30 days so they could come back to reclaim all of it or sell what they can.

  2. One has to wonder how much of that stuff these families truly owned. I suspect a lot of that stuff was bought on credit and once bankruptcy is declared, it will never be paid for.

    For the people who can afford the payments but now see it as a bad investment, that really a shame. I hope we’re in for a major housing price adjustment back to sane levels.

  3. The bossman said that everything that is left behind is left behind because the former owners freely chose to do it that way. I suppose that helps the guy sleep at night, but he’s wrong wrong wrong. I’ll bet my left one that they left all that stuff behind because they were out of credit and out of cash, and couldn’t swing the couple of hundred bucks it would take to rent a truck and/or storage space. They could only take whatever they could cram into their car. Been there.

    1. I had to leave my home with my two little girls and had nowhere to go so we came back to the UK from Spain. I paid for a hotel to stay for a few days whilst I sorted out what do next. It was a lot of hard work to find a roof over our heads and a very long road to finding a permanent one. I was emotionally drained since not long before leaving Spain my son had died in a road traffic accident. I had no energy and certainly no money to organise the removal of our contents, but I believed I had enough time to do somethng about it as things move soooo slowly out out there…Anyway recently learned that all my beautiful memorabilia, photographs etc. had been thrown away by the bank even though they knew me and my circumstances. I keep ringing to see if they tell me WHERE they dumped it all ‘cos I’m willing to dig for my son’s things, photos etc. but I keep getting the cold shoulder.d I I’m beyond myself with distress and I feel I’m being stepped-on from a very great height by the bank. By the way the house was lost because my husband had left and I became too ill following the death of my son.

  4. I had to turf an entire childhood’s worth of computer equipment when I moved into my van to go find work in another province (during one of the /last/ recessions.) I bitched about this here, but it still stings.

    A TRS-80 Model I with *all* the bells and whistles, a KIM-1 and some robotics stuff, a Colour Computer hot-rodded for 32K, and an entire library of software I’d collected or written. All my electronics projects.

    Basically, the garbage bin looked like Make: Magazine had barfed in it.

    Add to that all the computer and electronics magazines (from the classique era of the 70s and 80s) and you have the shitty icing on the shitty cake.

  5. @ JAYDEE: Anyone who can’t afford a couple hundred bucks for self-storage had absolutely no business borrowing money to move into a house that size. After growing up in a middle-class family, where we worked hard and lived within our means, I have zero sympathy for people who bought McMansions they couldn’t afford. The housing crisis is a disaster, and there are many sad stories, but along with them there were some real idiots out there that I don’t feel sorry for.

  6. Haven’t these people heard of craigslist? Both the foreclosed and the trash guy could take advantage of it. You could have swarms of people either paying you for crap or hauling it away, saving money and space at the landfill.

  7. @PJK


    I work hard, save hard, and hope I never have to face anything like that. But I could assure you ALL of my stuff will end up somewhere else other than a landfill. I own very very little “junk”.

  8. It’s ridiculous to trash all that…. why don’t they open a second hand store?
    People with little means could at least enjoy some of this stuff and the “trashers” could make money out of it…

  9. The federal government should be injecting capital into the furniture and appliance abandonment markets in order to shield the economy from mortgage decommiters’ toxic assets, not to mention education, Iraq and/or Afghanistan, affordable and accessible health care, and sending jobs overseas.

  10. PJK, I agree with you. But let’s not forget that many of the people who got themselves into unmanageable mortgages did so because they were advised to do so by mortgage brokers – the self-styled experts in the field.

    In fact, when the brighter home buyers pointed out to the mortgage brokers that they couldn’t afford those payments, the mortgage brokers turned around and offered them months or years mortgage-free before the (inflated) payments would begin.

    And when the very brightest home buyers pointed out that they still weren’t likely to be able to afford those payments months or years down the road, the mortgage brokers told them not to worry because their house would have appreciated by so much that they could sell it at a profit if they had to.

    Sure enough, after those months or years passed, nearly a third of all U.S. homeowners tried to sell the homes they could not afford to keep – only to find that they had created a glut of homes on the market, and now their homes could only be sold for a fraction of what they paid for them (and nowhere near enough to cover their mortgage debt).

    “Expert” mortgage brokers are the singular direct cause of the U.S. housing crisis. All those Americans defaulting on their payments is the singular direct cause of the failure of U.S. financial institutions. And the collapse of those U.S. financial institutions is the singular direct cause of the current global equity crisis.

  11. re:#1 posted by stuckinkiel

    The poor have ALWAYS been a selfish, inconsiderate bunch.They never consider how their irresponsible behaviors effect society at large.
    Don’t they even care that it reduces property values when they die of starvation in streets and then just lie there rotting?

    They have only themselves to blame. If they had any morals at all, they’d have been born into prosperous families.

  12. I’m guessing if these people can’t afford to rent a truck for a day, they don’t have ready internet access or the resources to OPEN A STORE.

  13. @JAYDEE depending on where you are it’s a couple of hundred bucks a *month*.

    And while I generally agree that lots of people did get themselves into trouble, I wouldn’t dismiss their plight that easily. They’ve been told, after all, that their houses would pay themselves. And whole governments supported that sector, by deregulation.

  14. Stuckinkiel: The reason this crisis isn’t going to end soon goes far beyond merely the housing market: It isn’t going to end soon because brokers and financial professionals — to hedge against people not being able to meet their mortgages — bought Credit Default Swaps, which are almost but not entirely unlike insurance. They failed to perform due diligence, either through incompetence or because it was convenient.

    PJK, BCSIZEMO: I think that you aren’t understanding the snowball effect caused by the Credit Default Swap collapse and credit crisis. As more and more people are unable to meet their mortgages, the finance companies find that they must meet their own obligations somehow. Credit Default Swaps are worthless, they cannot raise any new credit, no-one will buy their stocks, they’ve laid off everyone they can, and their cash-on-hand (if there was any to begin with) is dwindling. They have to raise the interest rates on other mortgages where possible – which hits those middle-class families who are living within their means.

    They may have had a “few hundred bucks” for storage at one point – rising gas prices, layoffs, rising insurance premiums, rising food costs, rising cost-of-everything tends to erode financial and social security. Many people take those “few hundred bucks” and attempt to stay current with their mortgage rather than face a default or foreclosure.

  15. #5:
    Alot of these people dont have time for Craiglist, and when you add to that the fact that alot of these people live in foreclosure wastelands, where entire neighborhoods are being abandoned at the same time, and EVERYONE’s trying to get rid of their crap simultaneously, it’s probably just not feasible.

    That being said, I think the states should consider stepping in and implementing laws regarding how all this property is disposed of, if only because its a tremendous waste of landfill space, plus in tough economic times there are plenty of people to make use of free stuff.

  16. @PJK: No doubt they could afford a storage place *before* they ran into financial hell, but it’s *after* the ride in the handbasket that this is about. And yeah–maybe they bought more house then they shoulda, or maybe they were doing just fine until job-loss / medical disaster / whatever. And sure–maybe they shoulda skeedaddled when they had a few hundred bucks left for a truck, but chances are they hung in there as long as they could, hoping things would improve, and when time ran out they had to decide: rental truck, or food for the kids for another month?

    I live in an area that’s been hit hard by the economy, and I know a bunch of hard-working, smart-saving folks, just like you, just like me, who are now chin-deep in the muck. Hope to god you never get there.

  17. My friend makes a half decent living doing junk-outs on foreclosed properties. Usually the ratio is approx:

    one decent pair of speakers / ton of filthy garbage.

  18. @FPF

    Probably because it’s the banks property and they don’t want to bother with it.

    Could be even worse press then dumping an urn into the landfill. “Big bad bank sell’s of Tiny Tim’s crutches”.

  19. Seriously, it’s silly to haul this off to a dump. 95% of this stuff is probably perfectly good. The bank just needs to put one ad on craigslist and the place will be swarming with people willing to take it away for free. Pay a few people to stand around and make sure nobody starts ripping out fixtures and copper wire, and charge by the pound. Anything in the house, 10¢/pound. The bank will make enough to cover the cost of having the crew come by and clean up the leftovers.

  20. It’s so wasteful. A second hand store and craiglist sounds better than a “trash out”, but who’s buying anything these days.

  21. moving and storing stuff is expensive, both in terms of cash and in terms of labor. also, it’s not entirely bad to start fresh. not having a lot of stuff means that you can be more mobile and more flexible when it comes

    when i got divorced, i took only the stuff i could fit in my car: a TV, my computer, my clothes, my playstation, expensive things that don’t take up lots of space. fortunately, all the furniture and everything else went with my ex instead of in a landfill.

    it’s been 7 years since my divorce, and i have moved on from the loss, both emotionally and financially. now it seems like another lifetime, almost like it happened to someone else, due in large part to the fact that i have very few physical reminders from that time.

  22. freshyll – that is true for about 1% of the houses. If a second hand store could make money selling the stuff, then they would be, and my friend couldn’t make a living junking them out, and he wouldn’t call me occasionally to give him a hand.

    But in my experience those houses are mostly trashed, filthy, picked over by friends and family family, and no bank is EVER going to open themselves up to the risk of personal injury liability from inviting unknown people onto a property through craigslist for a free-for-all at the rare property that isn’t totally trashed. The banks HIRE people with insurance to empty the house.

    If those people could make money selling stuff to second hand stores, they would, but they get paid better to empty the truck into the landfill and go to another house. The money isn’t there.

    If the money were there, people would be there making it. Where it can be, it *has* been before the junkout guys ever get there.

  23. I agree… spare the landfills, donate and right it off on your taxes. I see a lot of stuff in that house that could be re-purposed, reused and recycled.

  24. The question is whether or not the trash-out guys can make enough money putting the stuff in storage to let it get picked over (net of the cost of lower dump fees) to justify the costs of the storage plus the extra cycle of loading and off-loading. I’m guessing those numbers don’t work out.

  25. MDH, the value of the left-behind belongings might really vary between locations. I watched the other video, “Foreclosure Alley”, a few months ago. The crew was going through a house with a lot of things that would have done well at a second hand store: late-model electronics, nice floor lamps, luggage in good shape, etc. The crew said this was typical for the houses they were cleaning out in that area.

    All that e-waste and probably things like old partially filled paint cans and other household hazardous waste going into the trash–it’s just infuriating.

  26. I have a house that is on the verge, if not well past, of not being mine anymore. I love what is still left in the house but I don’t have the room for it. I cleared out everything I *really* care for and have room for.

    I’ve cried about it, broke my heart over it and at this point I just want closure one way or another.

    If I can get my loan modded to get caught up I can cover current costs. I’ve been waiting since december 1st when I applied for a special modification to find out the status.

  27. @13 bardfinn – My point was that we are at the beginning of a wave of mortgage defaults as housing prices decline. These mortgages are the base of a financial pyramid that is collapsing because the CDSs you are talking about are on CMOs which are based on mortgages. No one can know magnitude of the losses in the CMOs and therefore CDSs until housing prices stabilize – and at this point that looks like they won’t be any time soon.

    @10 nehpetsE – Kudos for defending the poor. But I wasn’t blaming the poor, I was trying to point out that just because you default on a mortgage does not mean that you are poor. If you bought a house for one million and it is now worth half that much and you think the value is going to drop further, would you continue making the payments, rich or poor? Also, did you have a look at that house and what they left behind?

  28. (#23) REMEZ – I’m not saying there’s no value, as thee clearly is, I’m saying there’s no market for it today.

    Who is going to buy an 8 year old rear projection TV when Circuit City is going under? Who is going to move it the 30 miles to a shop that might sell it?
    Is the margin there to make it worthwhile when there’s another house to junk-out with your one truck?

    (#22) Beavatron Repairman has it about right as far as I’ve seen.

  29. I hope none of you ever suffer the heartache of being rendered homeless, especially if you have children.
    If you are forced to “walk away” from a lot of your stuff, please call the Salvation Army, Goodwill Industries or AmVets to come collect your stuff. Filling landfills with usable items like those in the photo is just wrong, and those organizations are making stuff like that affordable for others who are down on their luck.

  30. I don’t know, MDH…. I still get calls from local charities, asking if I have salable items to donate. They always offer to drive by with a truck.

    I think the charity shops are doing a lot of business right now, and they would have liked a lot of this stuff. It’s a shame.

  31. you guys do realise that if that “junk” was to be repurposed and made available again, it would further depress the market for brand new items that we’re supposed to be buying to keep the economy going…

  32. Jancola. It is a shame, but are there enough of those people to keep up with the supply?

    And, as I keep saying, abandoned houses (99% of the time) are NOT goldmines waiting to be pillaged.

    It’s my opinion (and limited experience) that by the time the ‘junk-guy’ gets there, most of the time, the charity sale-able stuff has already been taken and all that remains is broken fishtanks and sand-filled freeweight sets.

    A possible solution is to make landfills more expensive, make it cheaper to warehouse and resell what is in decent condition, but as soon as you do that, people just throw their crap off the side of the road.

    Plus, you’d be AMAZED at how many people want the junk guy to pay the homeowner to haul his ‘junque’ off.

    People SEE the value, but the marketplace for it is, for the most part, imaginary wishful thinking.

  33. Due to continually falling house prices, more and more people are deciding to stop making mortgage payments because they are realizing that the house they bought may never be worth the price they paid for it. For them it makes financial sense to just walk away, even though they could make the payments. This is a serious problem and is, I think, the main reason that this economic crisis is not going to end anytime soon.

    It’s only a serious problem for the banks. As foreclosures lower neighboring housing prices, the banks are in a position to prefer writing off the difference that houses are “underwater” (i.e. valued below the loan principle) and extend the length of the loan payments (e.g. from 30 to 40 years) in order to keep people in their homes, paying a mortgage they can afford, and keeping house prices from plummeting.

    However, there was a housing bubble: houses were vastly overpriced due to too much easy credit being flooded into the market via the banks from the Fed. Of course housing prices need to fall back down to sane levels.

    All this talk about the perils of falling housing prices seem to neglect that they were overpriced for the past 10 years at least. If government intervenes to keep houses priced at that artificially high level, we’ll never see the market corrections we need to create real economic recovery. (It’ll all be tied up in the opportunity costs of maintaining artificially expensive houses.)

    It only benefits the bankers who would prefer to be bailed out by the government rather than have to take losses on the books for their outrageously optimistic loans.

  34. @29 and thats precisely the reason it should all go for resale or get given away. so we can stop this madness ones and for all.

  35. My parents own a business similar to this. We mostly haul away garbage but once a month we’re doing stuff like this. I have nearly furnished my house just with furniture from these places. My kitchen table and chairs, pots and pans, couch, TV, aquarium stand, coffee tables, mirrors, a painting by a local artist, cabinets, and gym equipment. Some of the more notable items have been a pool table and a few guitars and amps. It’s sad what people have to leave behind.

  36. I suspect most of the stuff has very little resale value. And considering how most Americans spend, I suspect the clothes are cheap polyester, the furniture cheap particle board and everything else is cheap plastic.

  37. Seriously, one post on craigslist would get swarms of people carrying off that stuff in a heartbeat. That’s how I get rid of stuff I don’t think is worthwhile for charity and that I don’t want in the landfill.

    I found it absurd that companies like Wells Fargo and IndyMac were willing to loan me $800,000 for a duplex with an 85k yearly income. I only applied to see what I *could* qualify for and was gobsmacked. Thankfully I was smart enough to know that I couldn’t afford that, and reprimanded the loan officers for thinking that was something they could offer to me with a straight face.

  38. vespabelle – I have a large collection of technical books I’m leaving behind if I have to and a $1300 new king bed with modern steel frame. I simply don’t have the room in the next place for those.

  39. Why is it OK to walk away from a mortgage when you owe 20% more than it’s worth? You signed a contract saying you were going to buy it, and if the price of the house had gone up, you’d’ve made a profit. Why does the bank have to assume all the risk of a property dropping in value?

    No one says it makes economic sense to walk away from a car payment, but everyone that drives the car off the lot now owes 20% more than they can sell the car for. The car drops as soon as you put 1 mile on the odometer.

    Most people that default on a house aren’t forced to leave in the middle of the night with only the clothes on their back. Most people can see this coming ahead by 2-3 months. If they can’t start selling stuff ahead of time, they can clean it out. Heck, my neighbor walked away from her house and it wasn’t foreclosed on for 8 months! Starting with the day you can’t make payments, you should start getting rid of stuff.

    For every victim homeowner, there are 5-10 scammers. For every responsible person that lost their job, there are tons of people that overbought. I read one story where the news was trying to paint some woman as a victim, but her original house buy was 92k 12 years earlier and the bank sold it for $192k. What they didn’t say was that she’d borrowed an extra $270k against it as home prices rose and she was renting out her basement for extra cash. It still took her 2 years of no-payments to get her evicted. She completely scammed the banks!

    Then there was the other home buyers that bought a $500k house and never made a single payment. They whined about being a victim, but it looks to me that they lived rent-free for over a year.

    Can’t blame that on predatory lenders….

    1. Two years ago, I sold my two bedroom house and moved into a one bedroom condo. I had loads of valuable stuff that I was willing to sell at a reasonable price, but nobody was buying anything, so I just ended up giving most of it away to friends or charity. But even charities are really picky about what they’ll take. The people who bought my house were out of town, so they let me have a couple of extra weeks to sort through everything so that I wouldn’t just have to hire a dumpster. I managed to give away or recycle everything that I owned. But most people don’t have the time or resources to do it that way.

      In California, we don’t have mortgages. We have trust deeds. Because of the way that the trust is held, you can be evicted in about a month if the bank chooses to push it. I have about twenty friends and acquaintances who have been foreclosed in the last two years. Here’s a sample story: When one of my friends knew that there was a problem, he contacted the lender to try to work something out. The lender refused to even talk to him about it until he was three months behind on his payments. The whole system is run by computer algorithms and is incapable of making any adjustments that would be in the favor of both the bank and the homeowner. That’s a big problem. In many cases, a fairly renegotiated rate, a three month holiday tacked onto the end of the loan or a lengthening of the term of the loan would have kept people from defaulting.

      Yes, lots of skanky people walked away because they didn’t give a shit, but a lot of honest people got screwed because the system is based on an ever-expanding market and there were no mechanisms for dealing with a downturn.

      And some of you need to get your compassion gene activated. Schadenfreude isn’t very pretty to look at.

  40. Anonymous @42 asks: “Why does the bank have to assume all the risk of a property dropping in value?”

    In many (most?) of the cases we’re discussing, the lender assured the prospective borrowers that their new homes would rise in value, sufficient to even earn them a profit on resale if it turned out they couldn’t afford the monthly payments.

    Many people believed this because, after all, these lenders are supposed to be the experts.

    So, yeah, the banks deserve much of the blame.

  41. I learned from this video I should not accumulate to much junk. I also learned that trash-out workers are sensitive guys.

  42. Welcome to debt-deflation. Your stuff is worth nothing because there is so much of it on the market that it’s easier to just leave it. Second hand stores basically can close their doors for the time being, too much free stuff available. Will be the same for the housing market soon as there is so much real estate on the market that lowering prices on it will not make it move. As everything loses value we lose our jobs, making it even less likely that anything will be bought. Learn how to dumpsterdive with a passion as it will be the only way to obtain stuff for a while.

  43. People probably aren’t leaving the stuff there intentionally. The banks often lock the place up against the residents before they have the opportunity to clear it out. All that “stuff” belongs to the banks and it is supposedly illegal for you to break in and retrieve it. This just seems wrong to me it is very hard to get evicted from your apartment but a bank can come in and lock your door without any more notice than that they have had enough of your not making payments. I am sorry, but if had means to retrieve my belongings from a now bank owned property, I would break in. Especially after seeing how it is all going into the landfill.

    It is actually kind of nice of those trash out people to send personal documents back to the people.

  44. Why does the bank have to assume all the risk of a property dropping in value?

    Because that’s exactly the business that lenders are in??? Well, not the risk of property dropping in value, but certainly the risk of borrowers defaulting.

    The whole system is run by computer algorithms and is incapable of making any adjustments that would be in the favor of both the bank and the homeowner. That’s a big problem. In many cases, a fairly renegotiated rate, a three month holiday tacked onto the end of the loan or a lengthening of the term of the loan would have kept people from defaulting.

    Goddamn right. Which is why banks that can’t adapt to do what you describe, and consequently fail as a result, should fail. (Not get bailed out by tax payors instead.)

  45. In the UK you can’t walk away and be free, as the Bank will pursue you for the outstanding balance of the loan, even after they repossess and sell your house.

  46. The variety of responses above are interesting,but quite a few are naive. Beyond the banks, beyond what the goods are- you are talking about people in crisis. A number of them through self-imposed ignorance, others through situational issues. The bottom line is that there is a huge crisis in health, credit and housing in this country that needs to be addressed yesterday.
    No insurance and a trip to the emergency room can create a medical foreclosure very quickly. Stuck in a job because one of your kids has a medical condition and you need the insurance- lose the job- lose the insurance- lose your home. (There is very little real work out there right now)
    I am 55- uber-responsible- went through a brutal divorce 5 years ago- got left with a pile of credit card debt from my ex.(Barely got to keep my home which took me 15 years to save a down payment for) Was the excellent money manager in my house- but due to the divorce, ended up paying debts incurred. Missed a payment on one- sheer slip- had a great credit rating. Find out what Universal Default is- interest goes up from 28 to 48% on your cards that you are desperately attempting to pay off. A 7000 dollar debt ends up being a 22, 000 dollar debt in 5 years. This goes back to deregulation in the 70’s- done by both Democrats and Republicans
    There is ignorance out there- yes- and there are people who were not educated enough in finances to buy a home- BUT, there is not consumer protection out there- no regulation on most credit, and certainly there is no safety net.
    If you have ever been through an unfair eviction- especially with kids- the last damn thing on your mind is what to do with some of your goods.
    On the same note, when I was young, I cleaned apts out for a real estate agency- most of the stuff left behind was of little worth and the apts were a filthy mess.
    Most charities where I live do not come around to pick up anymore and it is a tremendous amount of work to get stuff gone if you have no time and are dealing with a crisis.

  47. No insurance and a trip to the emergency room can create a medical foreclosure very quickly. Stuck in a job because one of your kids has a medical condition and you need the insurance- lose the job- lose the insurance- lose your home. (There is very little real work out there right now)

    Medical cost inflation traces back to the same people who created the asset bubble in housing: the banking system.

    Banks underwrite the insurance companies, and with the same flood of cheap credit, the medical-industrial complex figured out how to funnel that gravy train to themselves and make sure everyone along the way got a skim for making it happen.

    This is why the cost of medical goods and services are so far detached from the “real economy”, and why people have become addicted to employer-provided insurance for things that aren’t really insurable, such as routine doctor’s visits, diagnostic scans, and drug prescriptions.

    Insurance only logically works for catastrophes, but we’ve become indoctrinated to a belief that insurance should pay for everything because it’s expensive. Yet, it’s expensive precisely because insurance pays for everything.

    If you had to file a claim with your auto insurance every time you needed new tires or had to get an oil changed, suddenly tires would cost $2000 instead of $200, and oil would cost $500 instead of $5.

    We need massive deflation in the medical industry and bring prices back down to sane levels, just as housing prices need to drop back down to sane levels. That would make healthcare affordable.

    Unless you’re in the ER, insurance shouldn’t even enter the picture. Pay $50 to consult with a doctor, and maybe $100 for your drugs. General practitioners of medicine should be much closer in price to plumbers, electricians, and car mechanics.

  48. Those people who said “it’s only junk left” didn’t watch the video.

    First segment (half the video): Plenty of good stuff left. John (the trash out crew’s boss) is saying he tried to donate the stuff to charity; but they don’t turn up when they said they would; or they’d come, pick what they want, and leave the junk. His crew then have to make a second trip to the house. The reporter says although the homeowners knows months in advance of the impending foreclosure, they often leave in a hurry. John says maybe due to despair, they just walk out with their wallets, the clothes they wear, and a few stuff they really need. *HE* says there’s plenty of good stuff being left behind. We see the crew taking some of the stuff home. The reporter gets to take a cabinet home.

    Second segment: Different crew. The house is mostly clean on the inside. Some junk out back, which they throw away.

    Third segment: Another crew. There’s plenty of good stuff. He’s looking at two painting, then table, furniture. He says he’ll take them home, but his home is already full. So they go to the land fill.

    Last segment: Looked like this homeowner actually did put up a “come get free stuff” advertisement, and a horde of people came and trashed the place. The man was saying, it would take $100,000 to make it habitable again. But all I see is rubbish strewn everywhere, some broken furniture upended in the garage, algae in a nearly empty swimming pool. Maybe the house needs new carpets, the walls may need cleaning. But $100,000 ?!!!

    I can see the problem with allowing people to rummage through the home, but why not have a garage sale? If the homeowner do not want to do this because they are too depressed, or because whatever they get will go to the bank, the trash out guys could do this. Send your cousin over 1 day before trash out. He’ll look through the stuff, move everything remotely useable to the lawn, and sell them all off. When the crew come, there’ll be less stuff for the landfill.

  49. Since I can’t seem to create an account (403 error) with the link posted here, I’ll comment “anonymously”.

    I am trying to do something about facilitating communication between cleanout crews and charities, to get these goods donated. It’s in the concept stage, but can be followed here: http://goods-waiting.ning.com/

    All comments/brainstorming/advice/questions is welcome.


  50. What happens if one of these property management teams comes in before a foreclosure ? That happen to my family. We still lived there! we were at work and they came and locked us out after they riffled through our belongings. Who is responsible, the lender for putting them up to it or the property management or both ??? It was Countrywide now owned by Bank of America. Bank of America accepted the problems that followed these loans right?

  51. i am the 16 yearold son of a women who lost her home because of a devorce. citi mortgage gave us a forclosure notice months ago so my mom went and tryed for a loan remod. it didnt happen so she decided to try a short sale in the middle of the proccess the bank came took the realtors locks off the door put theirs on. 31 days later they came and did this to our house i had a fully modified mini bike in the garage worth around $1000 that i was going to sell to get a car and start the proper growing up proccess. i happpen to work for a property manager doing the exact same thing. i also happen to know that the law is that you are supposed to take their stuff to a storage unit and after you notify them, they have 40 days to come and get it…..we still have not been notifed about any of our property. 9 more days? it isnt my fault my mom is finacialy un stable and that we couldnt just rent a truck to go get it so why should i be punished. im thinkin lawsuit

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